‘Dine And Dash’ Welsh Couple Jailed For Leaving 5 Restaurants Without Paying ₹1 Lakh Bill

The offences occurred between August 2023 and April 2024.

by Nikitha Sebastian
‘Dine And Dash’ Welsh Couple Jailed For Leaving 5 Restaurants Without Paying ₹1 Lakh Bill

A Welsh couple has been sentenced to jail time after admitting to a series of “dine and dash” offences across South Wales. Bernard and Ann McDonagh, aged 41 and 39 respectively, pleaded guilty at Swansea Magistrates’ Court to charges of failing to pay restaurant bills. Their audacious scheme involved racking up tabs exceeding £1,000 (approximately ₹1 lakh) at five restaurants before leaving without paying. These were in Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, and Porthcawl.

‘Dine And Dash’ Couple

The offences occurred between August 2023 and April 2024, highlighting a persistent pattern of dishonesty. A court hearing exposed the couple’s modus operandi for exploiting businesses. Judge Paul Thomas KC slammed their actions as driven by “pure and utter greed.”

It constituted “carefully pre-planned” dine-and-dash incidents following a specific pattern. He condemned their use of their children, who would wait in the restaurants while they pretended to go to a cashpoint, as “ruthlessly exploitative.”

The judge believed Ann McDonagh played a leading role in the restaurant frauds, branding her a “fluent and practised liar.” The court also heard how she had stolen hundreds of pounds worth of household items and clothes from stores.

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Viral Post and Leading Role Exposed

Image Credit: Canva (Representative Image)

The couple’s downfall likely stemmed from a viral Facebook post by the newly-opened restaurant Bella Ciao in Swansea. The post shared CCTV footage of the McDonaghs seemingly leaving the premises without paying a hefty £329 bill (approximately ₹34,000).

Details emerged of their dining habits at the restaurant. Ordering the most expensive meals, including T-bone steaks and double dessert portions for everyone, including their children. Ann McDonagh’s claim of fetching cash from the car and leaving a child behind as collateral proved to be a sham. Five minutes later, the child received a feigned emergency phone call and disappeared.

Judge Thomas stated that over a span of approximately eight months, the two of them pursued a calculated path of continuous deceit. They frequented restaurants with their young family. They consumed food and beverages worth hundreds of pounds and callously departed without settling the bill.

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A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service highlighted the devastating impact the McDonaghs’ actions had on local family-run restaurants. The couple’s crimes piled new burdens onto these businesses, already struggling with numerous challenges. They faced not only financial losses but also a deep emotional strain.

Cover Image Courtesy: @swpolice/X (Formerly, Twitter)

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